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The Switchblade is one of the most anticipated kites to be released each season. Now in its 11th year, we’re always excited to see the next chapter from Cabrinha and once again we were not disappointed, especially with the much publicized new ‘A & B’ settings.
The Switchblade has always had a very secure space in the market and has dominated this sector and had a very strong following, but for 2016 the new settings and some other developments suggest that it is trying to appeal to a broader market and also that it is responding to the ‘performance freeride’ popularity and moving with the times.
First impressions and – as always with Cabrinha – the attention to detail is impressive and the whole package, from bag to bar is well thought out with no scrimping in any department. This year also sees the arrival of a new bar option – the Overdrive 1X with TrimLite – which has an above the bar cleat system both reducing weight and putting a smile on the face of those riders who have never got on with the pull/pull system.
On the water and we were keen to try the kite on the two alternate settings. On the B setting that familiar Switchblade feeling is there, you always know where the kite is and get fantastic feedback and stability with relatively high bar pressure. The Switchblade has always been the kind of kite that you know you can give to a rider of any level and they will come back smiling. It is intuitive, responsive and just an easy and very fun kite to fly, and that is still the case for 2016.
However, switching to the A setting genuinely does give the kite a different feel – bar pressure is a lot lighter and the kite becomes more nimble and responsive, moving it very much in the direction of the FX. On either setting the Switchblade is still a kite that likes to boost and boosting is incredibly easy – it’s a pull and go kind of a kite and a perfect kite for mastering your first few jumps. On the new B setting it also provides a snappier boost and you can really send it…
So overall it is great to see that the ‘A & B settings’ aren’t a gimmick and that Cabrinha have spent time ensuring that the kite is well balanced and perfectly tuned on each setting. The 2016 Switchblade will keep die hard Switchblade riders happy, but also provides a livelier alter ego to broaden its appeal… Exciting times.